Momstamp talks with super educator Beth Tigay about how to keep kids brains working without losing the fun of summer…

Kids need and love a break over the summer…but if we want our children to be life-long learners (and we do!), we need to encourage summer learning. What does that look like?

  • Research shows that school-age children need to keep reading over the summer in order to retain and expand the reading brain! For middle-school aged children, at least 4-6 chapter books should be read over the summer.
    • How do I get my child to read?
      • Make trips to the library or bookstore part of your summer schedule.
      • Decide on a theme and grab a bunch of books that incorporate it…ask your librarian or knowledgeable children’s bookstore worker for help finding books on your child’s chosen theme.
      • Let them read what they want (while encouraging them to keep themselves challenged). The important thing is that they READ!
      • Allow your child to abandon a book of he or she isn’t enjoying it. Life and summer are too short to read bad books.
      • Model reading…and talk about what you read!


  • If your child truly struggled with a specific subject in school, you may want to look into enrichment, tutoring, or summer school to boost skills and confidence.


  • If your child is passionate about a specific subject, the summer is a perfect time to allow him or her to focus on and develop deeper understanding of and love for the subject. Enroll your child in a class/camp that concentrates on writing, robotics, cooking, etc.


  • OR…encourage your child to learn something completely new (which might also be a certain genre of writing, robotics, cooking, etc.)


  • Offer opportunities to learn in nature.
    • A family hike is an inexpensive but extremely valuable way to spend a summer day. There is so much to look at and marvel over!
      • Get a good guidebook on native plants in your area and identify the ones you find as you explore. Make a game out of it…who can spot and identify the most plants?
      • Choose a topic to discuss during your shared time together.
      • Start and extend a story…one person starts it, others extend as you go along your trail. It must have a beginning, middle and end…by the time the hike is over!
    • Pitch a tent in the backyard (or drape blankets over chairs to make an outdoor fort). Bring flashlights and books and have family reading time or choose one person to read aloud to the rest (scary stories anyone?).
    • Encourage your child learn about stars and constellations. Forget the tent and lie down on blankets and just gaze at the sky.
  • Allow your child to enjoy the lazy days of summer (wait…do those exist anymore?). Just don’t let the mind get too lazy…